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Monday, October 28, 2013

Daily Lean Tips Edition #55 (811-825)

For my Facebook fans you already know about this great feature. But for those of you that are not connected to A Lean Journey on Facebook or Twitter I post daily a feature I call Lean Tips.  It is meant to be advice, things I learned from experience, and some knowledge tidbits about Lean to help you along your journey.  Another great reason to like A Lean Journey on Facebook.

Here is the next addition of tips from the Facebook page:

Lean Tip #811 - Share Successes Within Your Company
One of the best parts about creating an environment that fosters collaboration and experimentation is sharing successes and failures so that everyone can learn from it. When you do something that you consider a success such as developed a new app or even a new strategy that was effective, share it. Not only can it benefit the community at large but it will make your staff feel recognized and feel that they are contributing to something bigger.

Lean Tip #812 - Commit to Culture Change and Failing Fast
While creating a culture of collaboration and innovation within a very traditional and rigid organizational structure can be challenging it can definitely be achieved. But, make no mistake it requires a major culture change within the entire organization that must be led from the top. Senior management must focus on breaking down the silos in the organization to have more of an open culture and leadership.

Lean Tip #813 - Celebrate the Work of Others.
Celebrate your successes! Find ways to publicize your ongoing collaborative work, giving credit to those who have taken on new roles. As projects draw to a close, focus on the ways collaborative work has enhanced the customer and company. Use your celebrations to recruit new supporters and fortify future collaboration. In this way, collaboration becomes rooted in the company’s culture.

Lean Tip #814 - Keep Your Organizational Hierarchy as Flat as Possible to Foster Collaboration.
The more layers and levels of management, team leaders division heads, etc., that you have in your company, the more challenging it becomes for information to travel throughout the organization, and the more people are likely to become territorial. BY keeping the layers of information to minimal we can empower people to provide solutions and to be directly attached to all of our company goals.

Lean Tip #815 - Push Decision Making Down
Try to push decision making down to the lowest level of your organization. If you allow the people in your company who are directly connected to the problems that emerge, to be able to make decisions to fix those problems, you typically will get the best solutions. More succinctly put, the people who encounter the problems all of the time, usually know the best ways to fix the problems. We know that if you do not empower those who encounter the problems to be able to make decisions in how we fix them, then ultimately everyone just develops "work arounds" and the problem gets greatly delayed in being resolved.

Lean Tip #816 - Establish the Core Values that Comprise the Continuous Improvement Culture.
Establish the core values that comprise the continuous improvement culture such as a focus on supporting the customer, teamwork throughout the extended enterprise, receptivity to evolving continuous improvement concepts and tools. These core values will create a sense of belonging and a common vision for all involved.

Lean Tip #817 – Regular Communication Fosters Collaboration
Ensure regular communications to foster collaborative interactions among leaders, stakeholders, and practitioners at all levels.  Where needed, schedule face to face meetings and where not needed, use the communication and collaboration tools and capabilities of the enterprise to keep all members updated and involved.

Lean Tip #818 - Use a Consistent Approach for Projects
A consistent and structured approach for project identification and execution will provide the organization with the ability to identify, select, and manage continuous improvement projects. It should also provide post-closing process steps to continually refine the improvement project methodology and to act upon the lessons learn from the project effort.

Lean Tip #819 - Facilitate Process-Centric Thinking
Process-centric thinking does not have to be overly complex. Sometimes, all it takes is a thoughtful examination to uncover significant areas for improvement. Rather than tolerating mistakes and repeat errors, facilitate process-centric thinking to continually improve, correct, and overcome execution difficulties.

Lean Tip #820 - Turn Employees into Problem Solvers and Improvement Specialists
The most important aspect of lean is to involve employees in developing lean processes. Many times companies create a culture in which the employees don't make the decisions, management does. Then when problems occur, employees are unable to diagnose or solve problems without involving a supervisor. lean reverses that by revolving around employees and looking to them as the improvement specialists.

Lean Tip #821 - Measure, Audit, Review and Continue to Improve Processes
A common saying with our lean program is, “If you can't measure, you can't improve.” Without a baseline, you will not be able to show improvements, so you must measure virtually every process.

Use audits to not only sustain the improvements from Kaizen, but also expose new problems and resolve them with your employees' involvement and input.

Create a culture that continually looks to improve processes — even ones that aren't broken. Through lean you will learn to look at things differently and develop an eye for improvement. The key is to get as many “eyes for improvement” as possible.

Lean Tip #822 - Teach Others What You Learn.
One of the best ways to deepen and solidify your new knowledge is to teach it to others. Give a presentation, run a seminar, teach a class, or volunteer to run a small internal workshop to teach others in your organization what you are learning. Real learning occurs when you share it.

Lean Tip #823 - Focus on the Big Picture
Explain the long-range plans of the company and reinforce them regularly. People often become so focused on today's problems and routine duties that they lose sight of the big picture. When some members of the team concentrate on putting out fires, others can dedicate more time to reviewing processes to eliminate future problems.

Lean Tip #824 - Create a "We" Culture
Team building starts at the top. If senior executives encourage an environment where the organization uses less "I" and more "we" in how they communicate, everyone will feel supported, included and important to the organization. This eliminates an employee's fear of standing alone and shows that the entire organization is thinking about the company.

Lean Tip #825 - Recognize Success, Regardless of Its Origin

The worst organizations are those that think good ideas or successful programs only come from senior-level individuals. Conversely, good organizations encourage creative thinking from all levels and give credit when a creative idea or solution comes from junior or mid-level employees. This is one of the most crucial components of developing a teamwork-based culture.

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